With fresh evidence, Rajnath to confront Pak at SAARC

29 July 2016

Armed with compelling evidence following the arrest of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Saifulla Bahadur Ali in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara, India is now set to confront Pakistan with the latest proof of the involvement of its state and non-state elements in acts of terrorism in India.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who will visit Islamabad to attend the SAARC  Interior / Home Ministers' Conference, is expected to provide his Pakistani counterpart a dossier on Pakistan-trained terrorist Bahadur Ali.

A Pakistani national, Ali is in custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) after being captured during a gunfight in Kupwara on 25 July. He has confessed to being a Pakistani and a Hizbul Mujahideen operative.

Rajnath may also present some other documentary proof to Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to prove Pakistan's support for cross-border terrorism.

Singh, who will attend the SAARC Interior / Home Ministers' Conference, is expected to bluntly ask Pakistan to stop sponsoring acts of terror in India, official sources said.

Describing Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in Kashmir as a "martyr", Sharif had recently said that "Kashmir will one day become Pakistan", prompting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to say that his dream of the state becoming a part of Pakistan "will not be realised even at the end of eternity".

This will be the first visit to Pakistan by any senior Indian leader after the Pathankot attack on 2 January, which created tension between the two countries.

Singh will also raise the issue of the slow pace of the probe into the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, which was carried out by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, and the trial of the Mumbai terror attack case in that country, sources said.

Singh will be accompanied by home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and several other senior officers of the ministry.

Key issues like fighting against terrorism, illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and small arms and making coordinated and concerted efforts to combat such menace will figure in the SAARC meet.

The three-tier meeting will begin at the joint secretary-level and then move on to Secretary and home minister-level meetings.

The meeting will also focus on strengthening networking among police authorities of SAARC member countries and also enhance information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.

The last meeting of SAARC Interior/Home Ministers' Conference was held in Kathmandu in 2014 when the home minister had said that member nations of the group were facing common challenges and they should cooperate with each other to address them.

The home minister had also voiced concern over the new threats of terrorism and violence to South Asia and asked SAARC countries to chalk out strategies to check radical groups and extremist ideologies.

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